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Cozy Powell - Octopuss CD (album) cover

OCTOPUSS

Cozy Powell

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Third solo album from Cozy Powel entitled Octopuss from 1983. The music from this album is the most variated one from his entire solo career. Some personal changes aswell here, 3 new musicians among those three John Lord from Deep Purple. Again a solid jazz rock album, better than predecesor and in the same league with the first, Octopuss brings more consistency in the pieces and in the manner of interpretation aswell. This album in much variated than previous works, in places even some symphonic elements are added like on 633 Squadron - sounds like a fanfare with orchestra, but again truly good piece. The rest of the pieces keeps that jazz rock mood , but are more intristing and challenging than Tilt and on the same level, even in places quite better than Over the top. So my fav track are Up on the Downs, 633 Squadron and Princetown, the rest are good no doubt. Very pleasent album all the way, maybe not so complicated like other jazz albums from late '70's to early '80's, but without doubt a solid album with a lot to offer. Cozy Powell was maybe less pompous than other drummers from that period, less extravagant, but when he was behind the drums, no one dare to underestimate his talent. A brilliant and very confident musicians who remains in history as one of the best and prolific drummer ever in music. Sadly he passed away in april 1998 in car crash while he rided his motorcycle BMW. For this album Octopuss 3.5 rounded to 4 among his best solo efforts along with the first one. His solo albums are hard to find and a thing that is more shocking they are very unknown to many, this is sad, because what you find here is unmatched for sure. Recommended

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#201494)
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's good to feature Cozy Powell here as he can be considered as proghead because his solo albums demonstrate it. I knew him for the first time when I heard "Stargazer" on Rainbow "Rising" album. It was quite a big surprise on the change of drummer from Rainbow with Gary Driscol on debut album and finally I found different sound and style when "Stargazer" starts to roll. The drum solo at the beginning of the track was truly stunning and made me rewind the cassettes because I wanted to listen to the drum solo at the intro part. Fabulous. Since then, it was becoming my important reason to purchase any release from Rainbow.

Only later I knew that he made an album called "Octopuss" that blew me away at first spin of the cassette. Actually, I expected the music was somewhat similar with Rainbow Rising because at that time I was not used to jazzy-like music. It was a disappointment at first spin because the opening track was totally different with any track from Rainbow. "Up on the Downs" (3:55) did not really impress me due to the drumming was just mediocre and more on guitar and bass. As I followed through the music, I found that the next three tracks "633 Squadron" ( 4:13), "Octopuss" (5:35) and "The Big Country" (2:56) were all excellent ones. And by the passage of time I could enjoy the opening track as well. "633 Squadron" impressed me with its bombastic nature of the music as it sounded brilliant with grandiose orchestra. I played the cassette in loud volume and I was totally blown away with the music - it's so powerful. This song was later becoming very popular as background music for appreciation of Sales staff who achieved their targets. While "Octopuss" satisfied my needs for powerful, jaw-dropping drum work by Cozy that I have been waiting for it whenever I played this album. Stunning drum work, really! While "The Big Country" serves like a grand finale of the three tracks. Considering these tracks alone, it's worth having this album in your collection, really.

It does not mean that the other tracks are not good. "Formula One " is a straight forward jazz-rock fusion with good guitar and stunning drum work. "Princetown" is also an important track. "Dartmoore" explores the Trapeze's guitarist Mel galley into blues-like composition. While "The Rattler" opens with great drum solo that reminds me to Stargazer.

Cozy Powell is a very talented drummer in the history of rock music. And this album is very solid in composition as well as musicianship. Peace on earth and mercy mild. Keep on proggin' .!

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#202897)
Posted Monday, February 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With his third solo album, released in 1983, powerhouse drummer Cozy Powell wisely reverted to the format of his debut, Over the Top, after the half-baked effort that had been 1981's Tilt - that is, ditching any attempts at including songs, and going for an all-instrumental tracklist. At the time, Powell was a member of Whitesnake (I saw him perform with them at Castle Donington a few months after the album's release), so he enlisted the help of some of his bandmates for the recording of Octopuss - whose title oddly recalls the James Bond movie Octopussy, also released in 1983. The album cover, which shows Powell behind his kit, looking a bit like a many-armed Hindu deity, is also clearly reminiscent of the movie's official poster.

As in the case of Over the Top, the album features a series of classy, dynamic hard/jazz-rock numbers, as well as two covers of popular pieces of music, this time soundtracks to well-known movies - respectively, 1964 war flick 633 Squadron, and William Wyler western The Big Country (starring John Wayne). The orchestral arrangements on both tracks provide the ideal background for Powell's drum pyrotechnics, though both of them are definitely more restrained than the wonderfully bombastic title-track of the first album.

Though the overall level of the compositions is quite high, there are a couple of highlights that are probably worth the price of the whole album. One is the Gary Moore-penned Dartmoore (notice the pun in the title), inspired by the camping trip that Cozy and his then-new boss, David Coverdale, had made a few months earlier to the titular, scenic area of southwestern England. It is a brilliant, slow-burning, guitar-driven piece in the style of the previous album's stunning Sunset, though somehow lacking the latter's deeply poignant quality. The other is the title-track, a highly original offering which is basically a dialogue between Powell's drums and Colin Hodgkinson's jaw-dropping bass, backed by Jon Lord's trademark, rumbling Hammond organ. Closing track The Rattler (co-written by Powell and Coverdale) also deserves a mention: a brisk, energetic (though rather short) workout, introduced by a veritable drum explosion, it features some very tasteful guitar licks.

Octopuss was to be the last solo album to be recorded by Cozy in a long time: his fourth album, The Drums Are Back, the last released before his early demise in 1998, came out in 1992. In the meantime, the legendary drummer lent his considerable skills to a large number of bands, including the ELP incarnation where the P stood for Powell instead of Palmer. This album offers further proof of his ability to play different kinds of music than the hard-hitting rock for which he is mainly known. With excellent musicianship throughout, and interesting, well-written compositions, Octopuss will appeal to both fans of vintage rock and hard-edged jazz-rock. A highly recommended addition to your collection.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#207306)
Posted Sunday, March 15, 2009 | Review Permalink

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